A road trip across South Africa is something that can be found on almost everyone’s bucket list. You will be able to experience the country in a unique way, seeing small towns that you might not have heard of and you can capture some of our country’s gorgeous flora and fauna on camera too. And if you are going to be driving through the Northern Cape, you should definitely plan to make a stop off in the small town of Calvinia for some sightseeing. It is a quirky and interesting place to spend some time and even stop in overnight.
There are plenty of stunning Calvinia accommodation options to choose from, ranging from small bed-and-breakfasts to larger and more luxurious hotels. Some of this Calvinia accommodation is self-catering, which means that you will need to bring along your own groceries.
Or you can choose to eat at one of the many quaint coffee shops and stunning restaurants to be found in the town. Below are just some of the top things to do in Calvinia.
For those who are interested in the history and backstory of a place, you can make a stop at the Calvinia Museum. It is housed in an old synagogue which was built in 1920 and houses items which tell the story of the people of Calvinia and how the town came to be.
Here you will see an antique bucket pump, a flour mill and even a blacksmith’s workshop depicting how the past people of the town used to live. There are also some unique oddities, such as a preserved four-legged ostrich and a black wedding dress worn by Victorian women in the area. There is also information on how the farming of sheep and creation of wool developed in the area.
If you enjoy spending hours looking at stores, trying to find the perfect souvenir for your trips, then look no further than the Williston Mall. This mall was founded ten years ago and started out as a collection of old car signs and sayings in a small village in the Northern Cape. It has since grown into a delightful space for families to enjoy.
There is a fully licensed pub and a coffee shop selling some of the finest coffee in the area, as well as their famous Williston’s Pink Milkshakes. The stores offer a diverse array of items such as antiques, books, knick-knacks, souvenirs and second-hand clothing. There is plenty of space for children to play and adults to stretch their legs after hours of driving. And the old cars make for an interesting display of the past and present.
Some people enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, and what better place to do so than in the Akkerendam Nature Reserve in Calvinia? This stunning Nature Reserve has a variety of hiking trails to choose from for the more adventurous at heart, allowing you to hike the area with unspoiled views of the surrounds.
You will be able to get close enough to almost touch the Springbok in the reserve. You can also spot some of the rarest birds in the area, the Cinnamon-breasted Warbler. The shorter of the hiking trails is about 2km long and will take at least two hours to complete, and the longer one can take up to seven hours to complete. The latter one will allow you to see the rare sterboom (star tree). Be sure to bring along water and sunscreen during the warmer season.
If you want to see something truly unique on your travels, you need to visit the Calvinia post box. Now, while this post box is red and functions like its normal counterparts, it is six metres tall, making it taller than a house. It was originally built for use as a water tower, which explains its enormous size.
After it became dilapidated, residents of the town commented that it looked like a post box and so the Calvinia giant post box was created. Every letter that is posted from this post box receives a hand-stamped flower as decoration. This is to honour the stunning wildflowers that bloom in the town every year. It is a landmark in the town and makes for some quirky and memorable photographs.
Going on a road trip across the country is an exciting and memorable experience. This is especially true if you stop off in small towns such as Calvinia and see some of the sights. Stop off at the Calvinia Museum to learn more about the area and spend some time browsing the quirky stores at the Williston Mall.
If you enjoy nature, head to the Akkerendam Nature Reserve for a hike and don’t forget to snap some shots of the giant post box. The holiday accommodation in the town is close to all major attractions. Calvinia is a quaint and eccentric small town that needs to be seen and experienced at least once in a lifetime.